Most people know David Arquette as an actor. He's most recognizable as the lovable Deputy Dewey Riley from the "Scream" movie franchise, and back in the 90s, was thought of as one of Hollywood's best and brightest young up-and-coming actors. He graced the cover of Vanity Fair in 1996 alongside contemporaries like Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, Tim Roth and Matthew McConaughey.
The explosion that was supposed to be a promising acting career never quite happened. Instead, David Arquette became the WCW Heavyweight Wrestling Champion of the World.
And if that seems far-fetched, just get a load of the appropriately-named new doc, "You Cannot Kill David Arquette."
(See Tom's exclusive interview with David Arquette above)
"You Cannot Kill David Arquette" is a mind-blowing, fast-paced, jittery glimpse into the mind of a tormented soul. But David Arquette himself acts as the absolute best host you could ever ask for on this wild ride through his own psyche...he's someone you will find yourself rooting for, despite the fact that so, so many in the wrestling world have been rooting against him for over a decade.
So WTF is going on here? Back in 2010, Arquette starred in the satirical comedy "Ready to Rumble," and as a PR stunt to promote the film, it was arranged that he'd enter the world of professional wrestling. In the wildest of story-lines, he was to win the WCW Championship (reigning for a full 12 days) and in doing so, he altered not only his own career path, but permanently disfigured the face of the industry, and the proud legacy of pro wrestling itself.
There have been many gimmicks throughout the history of professional wrestling, but many fans and purists saw David Arquette's championship as the ultimate "jumping of the shark" for the sport. He was ridiculed, and eventually ostracized from wrestling, becoming a laughing stock. He hadn't earned his stripes. Nearly in parallel, his role as Deputy Dewey in the "Scream" franchise and a series of other duds had his acting career up against the ropes, leaving him typecast and without the opportunities he once seemed destined to have.
Flash-forward to today, and we find David as a broken man with an unquenchable thirst to be loved. "You Cannot Kill David Arquette" chronicles David's story, but also his quest for redemption, as he tries to "earn it," becoming a bona fide professional wrestler now in his late 40s (it says a lot about Hollywood, in that when faced with which industry to seek his redemption, he chose the one where he is literally beaten into a pulp rather than the profession of acting).
You see, wrestling - as we all know now - is "fake," in that the stories, characters and rivalries are thought-up and scripted ahead of time. It is a form of entertainment. Arquette was written to become champion, but never put in the work...his win crossed the line for many. Perhaps worse for the fan-base, he didn't appear to understand the weight of what it meant to wear the belt. But anybody who has even an inkling of understanding of the sport knows that wrestling is not "fake" in any other regard. In fact, it's without question the most grueling, unrewarding, physically-demanding sport of them all.
Because we know that wrestling in and of itself is over-the-top, if you weren't aware that David Arquette became champ back in 2010, you may suspect that the ENTIRETY of "You Cannot Kill David Arquette" is a put on, much like the faux-documentary "I'm Still Here" that Joaquin Phoenix pulled off back in 2010 as well. Arquette's story is nearly too crazy to be true...stranger than fiction indeed and bloodier than hell. And who knows if this documentary has a flare for the dramatic, or if it's technically all "true." One thing is for sure, it runs on the adrenaline supplied by its subject.
Because of that, the film is never dull, never boring. We hear from David Arquette's famous acting family (brother Richmond and sisters' Patricia and Rosanna are featured), his children, his ex-wife Courtney Cox and his loving, caring current wife, the award-winning journalist, Christina McLarty. Rick Flair, Dallas Page, Mick Foley, Eric Bischoff and other famous wrestlers appear to give context. But if David Arquette wasn't likable, this would be a painful vanity project. It works and then some...not just because we like him, but because we can relate to him.
Does David Arquette find what he's looking for? You'll have to watch the documentary. But if the old adage of "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" is true, then David Arquette might just be the world's strongest man.
Genre: Documentary, Sports.
Run Time: 1 hour 31 minutes.
Directed by David Darg and Price James.
"You Cannot Kill David Arquette" is available on streaming as of Friday, August 28th, 2020.
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